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British Guantanamo detainee accuses US of 'torture'

by repsts
One of the five Britons recently returned to the UK from Guantanamo Bay has claimed that he was subjected to cruel and sadistic treatment by US authorities.
Jamal al Harith, from Manchester, told the Daily Mirror today that detainees of Camp X-Ray and Camp Delta had to face frequent beatings, prolonged periods of isolation and traumatic psychological torture.
The 37-year-old was held at Guantanamo Bay for just over two years after coalition forces brought about the fall of the Taleban regime in Afghanistan. The divorced father-of-three said that the behaviour of prison guards was a deliberate affront to Islam and exacted to offend and terrorise the detainees.
Jamal told the Daily Mirror: "The whole point of Guantanamo was to get to you psychologically. The beatings were not as nearly as bad as the psychological torture - bruises heal after a week - but the other stuff stays with you."
Mr al Harith said that religious practises were often disrupted or even banned in order to punish and antagonise prisoners.
The most extreme of these claims centres around how guards would bring prostitutes into the camp to pose naked in front of prisoners, who were used to veiled women, and counter to Islamic practice.
He said: "It was a profoundly disturbing experience for these men. They would refuse to speak about what had happened. It would take perhaps four weeks for them to tell a friend - and we would shout it out around the whole block."
Mr al Harith also claimed that prisoners were often not allowed to wash prior to prayers – as directed by the Koran.
Drinking water was foul and food was out-of-date and contained little nourishment, he claimed.
Jamal said that he had gone to Pakistan to "study Muslim culture" shortly after September 11 2001, according to the Daily Mirror. He accidentally entered Afghan territory where he was picked up and imprisoned by the Taleban. After the fall of Kandahar, he was detained by US forces, the newspaper reported.

British Ex-Gitmo Detainee Says U.S. Military Police Beat Him
By Patrick E. Tyler
The New York Times -- LONDON

One of the British detainees released from Guantanamo Bay has charged that he was brutally beaten by the U.S. military police, and that he and his fellow captives were subjected to mistreatment and humiliation.

In an interview published Thursday in The Daily Mirror, Jamal al-Harith, 37, who goes by the name Jamal Udeen, also said that U.S. military officials had brought prostitutes to the detention facility “about ten times” and had paraded them before the younger and more devout Muslim prisoners as a form of “psychological torture.”

Lt. Cmdr. Barbara Burfeind, a Pentagon spokeswoman, dismissed Udeen’s assertions as completely false.

“All detainees are treated humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in accordance with the principles of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949,” she said. “As the president has said before, U.S. policy condemns and prohibits torture. When questioning enemy combatants, U.S. personnel are required to follow this policy and applicable law.”

Udeen’s account is the first to emerge from the five British prisoners who flew home from Guantanamo Bay on Tuesday and were released after a brief period of questioning by the anti-terrorism police. The government of Prime Minister Tony Blair has been bracing for a still uncertain public reaction to the detainees’ personal accounts of life at Camp Delta. More of the accounts are expected to emerge in the next few days.

Separately on Thursday, a reporter for The Times of London, Tim Reid, wrote that he had met Udeen in a Kandahar jail, where fleeing Taliban forces had left him in early January 2002. Reid wrote that Udeen said he had been arrested by the Taliban, during a journey across Afghanistan to Iran, because he carried a British passport.

“If I came here to fight, I wouldn’t have been thrown in prison,” Udeen reportedly said in 2002.

Camp X-ray detainee has 'horrific' story to tell
Brian Lashley

THE Manchester man held by the Americans for two years as a terror suspect in Guantanamo Bay has an "horrific" story to tell about his detention, his family said today.

Muslim convert Ronald Fiddler was released last night after being questioned in London.

He is refusing to speak since his return and is staying at an unknown location after an emotional reunion with relatives.

But his sister, Maxine, said that he had an "horrific" story to tell.

Mr Fiddler, 37, from Moss Side - who is also known as Jamal Udeen and Jamal al-Harith - was one of five Britons released from the maximum-security Camp Delta jail in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The four others have been detained in London under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Four more are still at the camp and may face military tribunals.

Speaking to the M.E.N. after being reunited with her brother, Maxine, said he was in good health and happy to be free. She said that the family were "delighted" to have him back.

Mr Fiddler's only communication with his family during his detention has been through a series of heavily-censored short notes.

Maxine, who lives in Chidlow Avenue, said: "He's in good health, happy to be free and everybody is just glad that he's back home. I want 24 hours with him to talk to him just to see how he is. We don't know what he has had to endure and I don't know how he will be or what he will be feeling after what he's been through."


The family solicitor, Robert Lizar, said "He was an innocent man and wants to know why he was kept in custody for so long.

He added: "He has been detained as an innocent person for more than two years. He has been treated in a cruel, inhuman, degrading manner and wants the authorities to answer for that.

"He would like also to point out that the conditions under which he has suffered are still being suffered by other detainees."

Mr Fiddler was arrested in Afghanistan after America launched the "War on Terror" following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

When he was arrested by American troops, he told them he had originally been imprisoned by the Taliban, who suspected he was a British spy, while he had travelled to the country on a backpacking trip.

While held in Camp Delta, he was denied access to a lawyer and quizzed by the British Secret Service.

North West Euro MP Chris Davies today welcomed Mr Fiddler's release, but urged that other prisoners should be charged or allowed to go free.

The European Parliament, meeting in Strasbourg today, were expected to vote in favour of asking the US authorities to put an end to the legal limbo in which the detainees are being held.

Mr Davies is supporting the call and says that those still imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay should either be charged and given access to lawyers or released.

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